Arts & Culture


Painterly and Scholarly: Archie Rand Satisfies Purists of All Kinds

By David Grosz

Archie Rand’s challenging, hybrid artwork has long been difficult to categorize. As a progressive painter who frequently incorporates Jewish themes and sacred texts into his canvases, Rand has faced criticism from purists in both the religious and avant-garde communities. His work, however, is probably best understood as a seriesRead More


This Tale of Mystery Begins With a Corpse –– But Ends With a Twist

By Lev Raphael

Lev Raphael’s latest novel, “The German Money,” is a Book Sense 76 pick.

The Outcast Dove By Sharan Newman Forge, 429 pp, $25.95. —-In mysteries it’s a cliché to introduce a corpse on the first page. In her new book, Sharan Newman seems to drearily fulfill that expectation, offering us a dead body in its first line. JewsRead More


Doing It for Themselves: Synagogue Sisterhoods Come Into the Future

By Rukhl Schaechter

At synagogues across the country, the women who have been filling the ranks of sisterhoods and doing the bulk of volunteering have been looking behind themselves and seeing… no one. These older women have raised millions of dollars and organized countless events. Yet the younger women around them, even those who attend services regularly, simplyRead More


A Mega Bar Mitzvah for Actor Fyvush Finkel

By Masha Leon

The June 21 tribute to Yiddish-English stage, film and TV star Fyvush Finkel — hosted by The Yiddish Artists & Friends Actors Club and The Yiddish Theatrical Alliance at the Lincoln Square Synagogue — was akin to a mega bar mitzvah. As the 350 guests mingled, noshed and wished 81-year-old Finkel nor oyf simkhas (“onlyRead More


Religion in the New World

in an intensive manner that was unknown to their parents earlier in the century.The Havurah movement of the 1960s and 1970s was a positive response to these developments, and the appearance of what is today called “Jewish renewal” owes its origins to those years. The Reconstructionist movement opened the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College inRead More


Settling in Transjordan

By Peretz Rodman

Imagine yourself as the director of a play or film with Numbers 32 as your script. What instructions do you give to the actors playing the men of the tribes of Reuven and Gad as they rehearse the scene in which they inform Moses of their desire to settle in Transjordan, short of the final journey into the Promised Land? For these and other stageRead More


False Messiahs and Whirling Dervishes: A Scholar’s Fresh Take on an Old Topic

By Allan Nadler

The Sabbatean Prophets By Matt Goldish Harvard University Press, 240 pages, $39.95. ——-The following dire, revolutionary proclamation issues forth from a charismatic provocateur in Gaza:“None will be saved from these tribulations except those dwelling in this place. The [very] name of the place [connoting strength] expresses her nature.Read More


At 80, Lang Still Keeps the Flame Alive

By Masha Leon

Guests savored paprika chicken, dumplings, duck liver plus 80 cakes at the June 15 surprise 80th birthday party for George Lang thrown by his wife, Jennifer, daughter Gigi and son Simon. Held at the La Palestra gym — next door to the Café des Artistes, which Lang owns — there was room for Hungarian folk dancers plus 300 well-wishers includingRead More


New Look at False Messiah

well before Shabbetai Zevi’s total defection from Judaism. That latter catastrophe led to the deeper, antinomian apostasy of the later Jewish Sabbateans, as well as to the Donmeh, the school of Muslim believers in Shabbetai Zevi, which persists, very secretly, in Turkey today.Even in contemporary America, though limited to rather marginal JewishRead More


They Might Be Giants

By Jon Kalish

In Our Hearts We Were Giants By Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev Carroll & Graf, 305 pages, $25. —-Imagine the terror of a having a vicious German Shepherd bark at you on the train platform at Auschwitz. Now imagine that the dog is barking at you as your tiny body is lifted from a cattle car — and when you land on your feet, the dogRead More


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